Heading west: Lady Tops talk road trip to North Texas, Denver

We met with the Lady Toppers on Monday to discuss the team’s two-game road swing out west this week, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at North Texas.

WKU is still searching for its first road win of the season, having started 0-7 in true road contests. The game will also be a homecoming of sorts for several players. A third of the team is from Texas, including many from the Dallas area, where North Texas plays in Denton.

I also sat down Monday with assistant coach Tim Riley. Riley, as most within the Bowling Green sports community know, was highly successful for 14 seasons as boys’ basketball at Warren Central High School.

I spoke with Riley about turning over the keys to the Dragons program, as well as fulfilling one of his lifelong goals to become a college coach. We spoke about the transition to his new job, including moving from head coach to an assistant and hitting the recruiting trail for college women’s players.

Look for that feature later in the week.

For now, here are Monday’s comments from coach Mary Taylor Cowles, senior center Jasmine Johnson and freshman guard Alexis Govan:

Mary Taylor Cowles

On North Texas’ strengths:

“North Texas is a very physical basketball team, a very good rebounding basketball team. They have good players at every position … but I think the physicality of the game is going to be intense.”

On searching for first road win:

“We have to prove ourselves on the road. We haven’t done that this year, so this is a big opportunity and an important road swing for us.”

On North Texas’ Jasmine Godbolt:

“Whether Godbolt is in the lineup or not, she’s obviously proven herself in our league. Everyone knows what she’s capable of, but they’re all very good players. (Coach Karen Aston’s) done a great job and they’re playing very confident together.”

On playing in the high altitude Sunday at Denver:

“We’ll make sure they’re aware of it and get rid of some things like soft drinks and drink plenty of water. But every team that has to go out there deals with the same situation. That’s where that conditioning and endurance ends up kicking in.”

On the week ahead:

“We need to be able to pack up our confidence and momentum and take that with us. Both of those teams want to do the same thing, so it’ll be an extremely competitive week. This is going to give us a very good measure of where we’re at in our conference.”

Jasmine Johnson

On the challenge at North Texas:

“We just need to prepare like we did for Troy. We need to come focused. We already know a lot of people are coming to the Denton game because like a third of the team is from Dallas.”

“They’re a very athletic team – like out-of-this-world athletic. We’re probably borderline of who’s going to outrebound who for the game. That’s how athletic they are.”

Alexis Govan

On the road trip:

“I feel like our defense has really picked up. I’m most excited to see how we defend on the road with the atmosphere of being somewhere else.”

On how the freshmen are improving:

“We’re growing up more. At the beginning, everyone stressed to us that we had to grow up quick, and we struggled because it was so new to us. Now the seniors and sophomores have taken us in and we know what’s expected of us. We’ve come a long way.”

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